A concentration camp is built like a Grand Hotel.
You need contractors, estimates, competitive bids
And no doubt friends in high places.
These were the lines of Night and Fog that may have hit me the hardest. Someone, some company, built the barracks, the guard towers, the ovens. And no doubt that company beat out other companies for the contract.
Alain Resnais' 1955 short documentary subtly twists the knife as the audience is called out for its part in the Holocaust (and all other holocausts) whether active or passive. Maybe you didn't place the noose around the neck, but maybe you sold the rope to the hangman, maybe you built the gallows, maybe you sat idly by because the people being led up the stairs didn't look like you.
But it's not about guilt; it's about responsibility.
When the Allies open the doors,
All the doors,
The deportees look on without understanding.
Are they free?
Will life know them again?
"I am not responsible," says the Kapo,
"I am not responsible," says the officer,
"I am not responsible."
Who is responsible then?
And it is not just a question of who is responsible for what happened, but of who is responsible for what may happen.
The skill of the Nazis is child's play today.
Someone builds the walls. Someone guards the gates. Someone fires the furnace.
Someone drops the bombs.
Someone steers the drones.
Someone writes the checks.
But also someone speaks the dehumanizing rhetoric: "they only want money", "they're all rapists and murderers," "they can't be trusted in a public restroom", "they're ruining this country."
And someone listens.
Rhetoric has consequences.
Resist being one of these someones. Do what you can to help others resist being these someones.
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